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News / Transport & Travel

Air conditioning on the tube could actually make trains hotter

Air conditioning on the tube could actually make trains hotter

If you had the misfortune of travelling on the tube during yesterday's mini-heatwave, you'll have probably been cursing the lack of air conditioning on those sweaty tube carriages. But according to Paul Priestman, chairman of design studio PriestmanGoode (the company designing the new tube trains), installing air conditioning on the tube could actually make it hotter. 

Sure, it sounds like a load of hot air. But there's some truth behind it, honest. Speaking on the BBC's Today Programme, Priestman said that the tube doors are open longer than they're shut, which means that all the cool air would spill out of the train. And to make things even sweatier, the motor for the air conditioning would also generate heat.

He added that the older, deep-level tube stations aren't ventilated enough to allow the trains to cool down. So, will we just have to sweat it out on the tube forever? Hopefully not. TfL has briefed PriestmanGoode to make the new tube trains 30 percent more efficient, which means more trains in use and less stop time on the platform, which will hopefully result in a slightly cooler temperature. But you'll have to wait at least another nine years for the cool new trains to be in action, as they're planned to launch on the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central lines from 2025.

Photo: Chris Billington

In other tube news, all the adverts at Clapham Common tube station have been replaced with pictures of cats

And this is the worst tube station for pickpocketing



Matthew D

The 'dwell times' at most stations is about 20 seconds and at the most busiest stations in the busiest peak periods  it's 60 seconds (and 70 at Canary Wharf).  So I'm not sure how he expects a train to travel to its next destination in 20 seconds.  Also, its always a problem working out how to get the hot air away from the tube/station as aircon practically works like a fridge - condition the air, remove the heat and replace with cool. When you're in a tunnel getting rid of the hot air is problematic so the new trains may have to carry the hot air with it until they reach an open section, or a vacuuming spot for eg the Victoria line.

Rik J

They seem to manage to air-con the subway in NY with no problems, and it's way cheaper, this all sounds like bullshit to me.

Chris C

Tube doors cannot possibly be open for more time than they are closed!